Story Go Round 01/03/2004, round 1, #2


"Ten! ... Nine! ... Eight!--" I stopped to take a sip and then rejoined the others, "Six! ... FIVE!-- someone in the crowd stepped on my toes and thus while around me chorused 'Four', I yelped 'Ow-wee,' "Two," I managed to get out before a flying elbow hit my stomach and doubled me over. "Happy New Year," I wheezed.

"Happy New Year, Nancy!" my two bosomy aunts cried, and sandwiched me between them in a big hug, hopping madly. Stumbling, dizzy, I threaded me way through the crowd to the balcony for some fresh air.

When I got there I sighed and turned my back to the glass in disgust - it was so packed out there they couldn't even close the sliding door - and that's when someone threw the noise maker that hit me square in the forehead.

"Aaah!" I yelled in frustration. A year ago I had toyed with the idea of swearing off New Year's parties, and now I'd had it, really had it with them. Now all I had to do was survive this one. That would be a chore. The front door was downstairs past the karaoke machine and the group of rowdies playing 'Hobbit' drinking games around the pool table. I'd never make it out alive. Unless...

I headed for the bathroom. In a sweet evening huddle around the fireplace with wine snifters, my friend had once told me about the chute. It had been used by escaping slaves during the Civil War, even! Marcy and her husband have been using it as a laundry chute, so there should be towels and dirty undies to cushion my fall! I pushed past the people waiting in line and pretended to be violently ill so I could get in there next.

I still had to wait, though, as someone really was being violently ill. One, then two, then three, four, and five agonizing minutes passed. A shoe flew out of the crowd and bruised one of my ribs. A trio of cockroaches gathered near my left foot. I could measure time by the individual poundings of my heart and many beats thumped through my tightly-wound body before the doorknob turned and the crack of light coming from underneath the door was partly blocked by a pair of feet. The guy behind me tried to put his arm around my shoulder and almost tore out a patch of hair.

"Get OFF me," I yelled, and pushed him so hard we both fell over. So of course that's when the door opened. Everything moved in slow motion. A child called for her dad and a man coughed slightly. Pushing myself off his crotch, I rolled over the pig-faced loser, through the doorway and into the bathroom. I was pleased that the only injury I had sustained in the process was a near-concussive crack of the skull on the toilette when I sat up to kick the door shut. Exhausted, I stayed sitting for a moment longer. My toes hurt, my stomach was sore, I could feel the bruise forming on my forehead without even touching it, my scalp at the back of my hed was throbbing, and it felt like a whole legion of Athenas were trying to get out of my head. I found the chute under a pile of dirty clothes, and felt encouraged by my success. Unfortunately the smallest contact with its sides made me wince with agony. Aspirin. I jumbled through the medicine cabinet for a pain killer, popped out 2 gel caps and shoved them in my mouth followed by a couple of handfuls of water from the tap. Now, how long would it take to kick in? I looked at my watch. When it began to get fuzzy, I panicked and re-checked the label on the bottle! Prescription knock-out pills! My legs gave way beneath me and I realized with despair that I might never leave this house tonight. Unless ... no, don't think, if you think about it you'll freeze up, just do it! I dropped down on all fours, crawled right up to the chute and right in and let myself go - dropping headfirst down it.

When I woke up it was just before my surgery, right after they had put in the IV and were beginning to administer the anesthetic. I barely remember this guy in the gurney next to me being held down by several staff members raging on about his New Year's resolution and some girl named "Sheena". That's when I resolved to never, ever make another New Year's resolution. I broke it in 2005.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange